House Justice seeks creation of 60 new RTCs, 7 MTCs

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TO ensure the people’s constitutional right to speedy disposition of their cases, the House Committee on Justice has approved twenty separate bills creating 60 new regional trial courts (RTC) and seven municipal trial courts (MTC) all over the country.

“We know the government’s fiscal limitations but we have to take decisions for long term public interest,” Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. (5th District, Iloilo), chairman of the Committee on Justice, declared.

Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III (4th District, Quezon), author of HB 6659 proposing the creation of two (2) additional RTC branches in Gumaca, Quezon, citing a Constitutional mandate, said “it is the duty of the district representative to ensure that there is an ample number of courts in his district so as to ensure his constituents’ access to the justice system.”

Rep. Roberto Puno (1st District, Antipolo City) and Rep. Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City), who are seeking an additional 15 RTC branches and one (1) MTC branch for their constituents under HB 5519, lamented the overload of cases in courts.

“The combined caseload of the eight existing RTCs in Antipolo City is 10,415 or with an average of 1,302 per branch.  The ideal caseload of an RTC branch is in the range of 300 to 400 cases, thus, the additional 15 RTCs,” Puno and Acop said.

Likewise, Rep. Romeo Jalosjos, Jr. (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay), noted that the situation (cases vs. number courts) when the Judiciary Reorganization Act was enacted in 1980 (BP 129) was glaringly different from the prevailing circumstances now due principally to the increase in population.  The lawmaker is proposing an additional two (2) RTC branches to be located in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay contained in HB 5516.

Others approved were: HB 5532 (6 RTCs in Angeles, Pampanga – Rep. Carmelo Lazatin); HB 5533 (1 RTC in Digos City, Davao del Sur – Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas); HB 5534 (3 RTCs in Malolos, Bulacan — Rep. Ma. Victoria Sy Alvarado); HB 5539 and HB 5559 (1 RTC in Siniloan, Sta. Cruz, Laguna – Rep. Edgar San Luis); HB 5644 (3 RTCs in Puerto Princesa, Palawan—Rep. Victorino Dennis Socrates);

HB 5562 (2 RTCs in Argao, Cebu), HB 5563 (4 RTC in Barili, Cebu) and HB 5564 (2 RTCs in Toledo, Cebu – all authored by Rep. Pablo Garcia); HB 5604 (1 RTC in Talibon, Bohol – Rep. Erico Aumentado); HB 5619 and HB 5775 (6 MTCs and 1 RTC in Cebu City – Rep. Rachel Marguerite Del Mar and Rep. Tomas Osmeña);

HB 5659 and HB 6080 (2 RTCs in Urdaneta and 5 RTC in Lingayen, Alaminos, Urdaneta, San Carlos, Dagupan, Pangasinan – Rep. Kimi Cojuangco and Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil); HB 5668 (5 RTCs in Morong and 2 RTCs in San Mateo, Rizal – Rep. Isidro Rodriguez, Jr.);

HB 5761 (1 RTC in Midsayap, North Cotabato – Rep. Jesus Sacdalan); HB 5910    (1 RTC in Cotabato, Maguindanao – Rep. Bai Sandra Sema); and HB 6574 (1 RTC in Bais, Negros Oriental – Rep. George Arnaiz).

At the same, the Justice panel approved HB 6570 which grants “Survivorship” benefits to the surviving legitimate spouse of a deceased retired member of the Office of the Solicitor General, authored by Chairman Tupas himself.

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